Bitcoin in English: governments want to tax your cryptocurrencies
The first week of February has just ended. And although it was marked by the rebound in the price of bitcoin, it also left diverse information for the Spanish-speaking world; one of the common factors is the search for taxes on cryptocurrency transactions by various governments: Colombia, El Salvador, Venezuela, among them. One piece of news that concerns several countries in the Latin American region is the official launch of Tropykus. It is a decentralized finance platform (DeFi) that runs on the Bitcoin sidechain, RSK. To go to the detail of the news of each Spanish-speaking country during the past week, we leave you the most recent Bitcoin in Spanish:
We take advantage of Tropykus' momentum to talk about a very young Argentine exchange: CryptoMate, which started the month of February by achieving a capital injection of $1.5 million in a financing round in the United States. Meanwhile, the Government of Argentina revoked subsidies on electricity consumption tariffs for people engaged in Bitcoin mining in Tierra del Fuego. According to the authorities, this activity represents a challenge to the service infrastructure. Therefore, "it is considered appropriate that these users face the payment of the price of energy equivalent to the cost of supply, being inequitable that they pay the price of a residential user or another."
The former President of the Central Bank and former Minister of Economy Domingo Felipe Cavallo positively evaluated the potential of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. He also referred to the "transformation process of the concept of currency" and how this is reflected in the recent adoption of BTC as legal tender in El Salvador.
Will another country adopt bitcoin as legal tender? Speculation has not ceased since El Salvador did so last year. And in Chile, the Cryptotechnologies Association wants the South American country to follow the same path. Therefore, they submitted a proposal to the Constituent Commission that includes bitcoin as legal tender, a blockchain for public data management, and the approach to decentralized finance.
Regulations come and go around the world. And there is one in Colombia that has raised a lot of concern: as of next April, exchanges will have to report their clients' operations, even with amounts as low as $150. In addition, the Colombian National Tax and Customs Directorate (DIAN) wants to charge more taxes on bitcoin transactions and has a collection goal of some 7.7 million dollars from cryptocurrency transactions in the country.
Despite this trend from the regulatory environment, adoption continues to grow in the country: this week, the real estate company La Haus achieved the first sale of a property with BTC as a means of payment. In addition, OKX (formerly OKEx) also landed in Colombia as a new option for peer-to-peer (P2P) trading.
Historically opposed to Bitcoin, Ecuador opens the doors to a forthcoming regulation and other cryptocurrencies. Recognizing that these digital assets are steadily advancing, the South American country would have a regulatory approach that clarifies the use of cryptocurrencies. Such regulation would come as soon as this year.
Although the IMF insists on criticizing and even demanding that El Salvador renounce its bet on Bitcoin, the government of Nayib Bukele is not willing to listen to the international organization. Not only did the Minister of Finance, Alejandro Zelaya, point this out on television, but Bukele himself mocked the demands of the International Monetary Fund. While some criticize, others applaud. Such is the case of Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and CEO of Block, who sees in the Salvadoran adoption the great Bitcoin experiment as a means for micropayments. One of the biggest criticisms in El Salvador is the constant failures reported about the functioning of the Chivo Wallet. To correct the situation, the government put the technical support in the U.S. company Alphapoint.
As we said at the beginning of this newsletter, this week was marked by government efforts to capture taxes through cryptocurrencies. In the case of the Salvadoran municipality of Ilopango, they seek to receive BTC for the payment of taxes.
As expected, banks in Spain maintain their critical stance towards bitcoin, as we reflected this week. Santander, BBVA, Bankinter, Sabadell, and CaixaBank have expressed their reticence towards cryptocurrencies, in most cases alluding to market volatility. However, in Spain, not only bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have gained ground. Various fan tokens have also made their way among Spaniards, while Carrefour is betting heavily on the metaverse world.
Mexico was in the process of economic recovery that came to a screeching halt: now, it is in recession. And although the government has no intention of getting involved in such complex issues as bitcoin, billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego insists that cryptocurrency is the best option, even over gold. Mexican soccer seems to be paying attention to these recommendations, as this week the first transfer paid with bitcoin of a professional player from a team in Mexico to another in the United States was announced: Stefany Ferrer van Ginkel went from the Tigres de Nuevo León club to Angel City FC, in a transfer for which the Bitso exchange served as an intermediary.
More taxes. Now in Venezuela: from 2% up to 20% for transactions with any currency other than the bolivar, Venezuela's national currency. This includes foreign currencies and cryptocurrencies such as BTC. Another bad news for many Venezuelans is the blocking of funds. Users of AKB Fintech, a platform that offered itself as an alternative for managing dollars in the South American country, have been victims. Hundreds of people have denounced the lack of responses from the company and allege that they were tricked. Days after the Caracas Bitcoin Experience, an event held in the Venezuelan capital, the correspondents sent by CriptoNoticias still had things to report. Therefore, we published a compendium with a dozen brief interviews with some of the speakers, plus an article on the psychological component in trading and a reflection on the role of Bitcoin in our way of seeing money and the community.